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North Leaside traffic calming – driving forward

Early in 2015, I formed traffic committees in both North and South Leaside, each with a mandate to assess Leaside’s traffic situation and offer potential solutions to community concerns of volume, safety and quality-of-life issues.

In selecting committee members, I sought to have a wide scope of representation: people residing on both “quiet” and “busy” streets and people with different perspectives – seniors, those with school-aged children, newer residents, and long-time ones as well.

After two years and literally thousands of hours of work, the North Leaside Traffic Committee (NLTC) presented their findings to the community at the town hall I hosted on May 9. Although they formulated 16 different plans, they narrowed the options to two for the community to consider.

John Gaitanakis, chair of the NLTC, gave a detailed overview of the situation, a recommended traffic calming proposal, and then answered questions from a packed William Lea Room.

In deciding upon a preferred solution, it was stressed that the NLTC took a community-wide view of the challenge rather than a street-to-street approach where there would be winners and losers. Their proposal was the only one of the 16 in which any potential negative impact (primarily inconvenience) would be borne by all members of community equally. Also highlighted was the fact that intensification of the Eglinton corridor between Bayview and Don Mills will bring thousands of new residents to the area. Not only will this presumably increase “cut-through” traffic, the political implications are such that this may be the last chance to tackle the problem.

While the NLTC presented a traffic maze as one of the options, it ultimately recommended creating cul-de-sacs at each of the entry points to the community from Bayview Ave. The proposal would first be implemented as a short-term pilot project so the community would have an opportunity to change its mind.

The NLTC is requesting that residents complete a short survey before June 30. If the community responds favourably, then further consultation and a formal poll will take place over the coming months. To move forward, a minimum of 60 per cent of voting age residents will need to respond, with 50 per cent + one answering favourably. Any changes would still need to be approved by Community Council.

Please visit my website (ward26.ca) to view the entire town hall, the standalone slide presentation, and a link to the online survey.